If you believe that Canadian Club was your father’s whisky, think again.
To be sure, he probably drank it, but that doesn’t mean that the appeal of Canadian Club is old-fashioned or dated. It works brilliantly as a component of classic cocktails, and appeals to anyone who is craving both flavor and affordable luxury.
Most of us are familiar with the Premium 6 Year-Old ($16), traditionally mixed with soda, water or ginger ale for a signature highball. When sampled neat, it has a soothing nose with touches of almonds, vanilla and honey; it is smooth and pleasantly sharp on the palate, with a long, spicy finish. The 10 year-Old ($20) is bigger and bolder, vibrant and assertive, the type of whisky that would hold up very well in a Manhattan.
As good as they are, both these whiskies are overshadowed as you ascend the Canadian Club quality scale. The 12 Year-Old ($25) has a sweet and fragrant nose; rich and round in the mouth, it displays flavors of coffee, vanilla and butterscotch. A remarkable value, it compares favorably to most XO Cognac at a fraction of the price. Even better is the Sherry Cask ($28), an eight year-old whisky aged in uncharred Sherry barrels. The nose is grainy, with a hint of Mediterranean fruits; it is intense, concentrated and distinctive on the palate. Either of these whiskies are perfect when sipped by themselves, enhanced with a splash of water or a single ice cube.
If you ever see a bottle of Canadian Club’s remarkable 30 Year-Old ($200), grab it. It has a wonderfully expressive nose chock full of caramel, vanilla, butterscotch and baking spices. The whisky is rich on entry, almost unctuous, with a viscous texture. The mid palate is soft and gently integrated, like a great cognac, and the finish is almost endless. Created to mark the 150th anniversary of the distillery in 2008, it is available in top retail stores and international duty free shops.